Beginner. 5 miles, 500′ gain.
This hike is entirely fire-road and is almost completely flat. That means it’s wide enough for a vehicle. To make up for the lack of elevation, the distance will be about 5 miles round trip.
When I hiked this, I never noticed any real gain but ended up measuring about 500′ from the combination of small hills. Some of this trail is sandy, so walking it at times can be more difficult than just walking a dirt trail, almost like walking on the beach.
What this hike lacks in ridge-top views, it makes up for in its varied surrounding flora: There are a lot of different interesting plants on this hike.
The walk starts out in the gravel parking lot next to the Rustic Canyon golf course parking lot, where there is a trail head along the north edge and plenty of room for at least 35 cars. We’ll walk along the fire road next to the golf course for 1.3 miles until making a left at a junction.
Please be advised that from that point on, there are no dogs allowed. At some point as we continue, the ground will become very sandy that I’m told is the result of horses.
The landscape will change from very dry to very green, eventually coming to a spot where sometimes you can hear the water running along the left down in a canyon. We’ll stop there to share some snacks, beverages, and have a social event for 30-60 minutes, before turning around to head back the way we came.
You will see several plants of note, and if you are interested, you can look them up before the hike. I’ll mention several, and then fully describe a couple more:
Russian Thistle, Black Walnut, Caterpillar Phacelia, White Sage, Yucca, Bladder Pod.
The plant got its name from Jamestown, because in 1676, Jamestown, VA soldiers ate this plant in their salad and became psychotic for 11 days.
The leaves and seeds are used to make medicine. Despite serious safety concerns, jimson weed is used to treat asthma, cough, flu (influenza), swine flu, and nerve diseases. Some people use it as a recreational drug to cause hallucinations and a heightened sense of well-being (euphoria). All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics.
The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects. As much as a 5:1 variation can be found between plants. It contains chemicals such as atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine.
These chemicals interfere with one of the chemical messengers (acetylcholine) in the brain and nerves. Ingesting only a few small seeds can result in serious poisoning and may be life-threatening. Ingesting even small amounts of the plant or seeds can result in confusion, frightening hallucinations, the inability to urinate or sweat, overheating, and a rapid heart rate.
Depending on the amount ingested, these troubling symptoms can last hours to many days, and in some cases can lead to death. Touching he plant can cause dermatitis.
The seeds contain ricin and are poisonous to people, animals and insects. Ricin is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances known. Perhaps just one milligram of ricin can kill an adult. Walter White made a poison cigarette by putting in ricin, in the series Breaking Bad.
The symptoms of human poisoning begin within a few hours of ingestion. If death has not occurred in 3-5 days, the victim usually recovers. The seed cause skin irritation at the contact point. It is said that just one seed can kill a child.
In 1978, ricin was used to assassinate Georgi Markov in 1978, a Bulgarian journalist who spoke out against the Bulgarian government. He was stabbed with the point of an umbrella while waiting at a bus stop near Waterloo Station in London. They found a perforated metallic pellet embedded in his leg that had presumably contained the ricin toxin.
Castor beans are pressed to extract castor oil which is used for medicinal purposes. Ricin does not partition into the oil because it is water-soluble, therefore, castor oil does not contain ricin, provided that no cross-contamination occurred during its production.
Used in bone marrow transplants, cancer therapies, AIDS treatment, and can selectively destroy neurons by injecting ricin into nerves.
15100 Happy Camp Canyon Rd.
Moorpark, CA 93021
If you use this address, we’ll be just beyond the far southeast corner of the clubhouse lot.
From the 118 and from the 101:
Head to towards the intersection of I-118 and CA-23.
Exit 19A Princeton Ave., turn right (north) if coming from the east, left coming from CA-23.
Princeton Ave. north for 0.2 miles.
Left on Campus Park Dr. for 0.4 miles and continue on Happy Camp Canyon Rd. for 0.7 miles.
Follow signs to Rustic Canyon golf course.
Park on the right in gravel lot, just before golf course paved lot.
Distance: 5 miles, 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 500′
Difficulty (https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879781): Easy
Pace: 2.0 mph
Dogs: No. This is a park rule, not mine. There is a sign half-way that says no dogs. I’m not the dog enforcer, so bring a dog at your own risk.
Restrooms: Yes, inside the golf course clubhouse at the start, but likely closed after dark.
Drinking Fountains: Yes, inside the golf course clubhouse at the start.
Parking: Free in the gravel lot next to the paved golf course lot.
Trail: Fire Road and Fire Road with powdered sand.
What to Bring:
1-2 liters of water.
Snacks and/or beverages to share (https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879772).
Hiking shoes preferred, but athletic shoes will be OK. They will get very dusty on this trail.
Flashlight or headlamp.
Release of Liability: https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/pages/29622459/Is_Hiking_Dangerous/